Total Quality (TQ) has received a great deal of attention in the business world in recent years. American companies, slow to enhance it at first, are joining in the TQ movement as they become convinced of its ability to enhance competitiveness. TQ is based on a philosophy and set of tools that focus on continuous improvement, and the fuel that drives the quality improvement engine is measurable data. TQ can be viewed as an effective means for advancing organizational learning whose current bag of tools are especially well-equipped to advance learning at the operational level. These TQ tools, however, are not as effective in dealing with problems that are ill-defined, where variables are fuzzy and hard to quantify or measure, where time delays are long, and where the system is loosely coupled but highly inter-related. These types of issues are precisely the ones for which system dynamics is well suited-- issues of a dynamically complex nature where feedback loops drive the behavior of interest. Complementing the TQ approach, system dynamics focuses on advancing organizational learning at the conceptual level. Organizational learning, however, requires learning at both the conceptual and operational level. This paper briefly lays out the background of both fields, compares their common holistic approach, and provides examples of possible integration of the two approaches to enhance organizational learning.
In this paper, we will sum up the situation, the achievements and successes of System Dynamics in France, but we will also analyze some of the practical difficulties to which it is confronted.This expose will include three parts: -the teaching of S.D.,-its practical applications, particularly within industry,- an example of a successful application, illustrating some the practical difficulties in using our S.D. models.
The problem of labor employment is a major problem of global issues. It is also an especially pronounced problem in a country such as ours, with tremendous population and relatively poor background of economy. Under the leadership of the Central Committee and the State Council, and with the coordinated effort of all the localities, departments in society, we have achieved in the area of labor employment a tremendous success that has captured the attention of the entire world. However, owing to some reasons of irrational policies, we have also got the experience of failure in it.The problem of employment is becoming more and more urgent and serious with the policy of deepening reformation. Showing by the experience and theory, any effort that merely aims at resolving the employment problem can be effective only in a short-term and have less success when it faces new situation.To resolve the employment problem at present, we must begin with our employment philosophy and set up a system of strategic management in terms of employment that keeps on defending and promoting the stability and unity of society. The tremendous population of China is both a huge obstacle and a great motive force for the development of our society. We are facing selection-- challenge and opportunity-- that only depends on our effort and creation.
This paper is based on the results of experience working with a small firm, which experienced loss of key customers due to quality problems. One another large customer threatened to take their business somewhere else. These customers had been doing business with the firm for at least 10 years. It is at this point in time, i.e., Summer of 1986, the author was brought in to help the management develop a quality assurance program. After initial discussion, it became clear that the clamor for quality as found in popular and professional media did not permeate the management thinking. The expectation was to have someone install SPC charts and initiate Quality Circle Activities. Ultimately, the responsibility for maintenance of these black boxes would be assigned to their Quality Supervisor. It was clear that if the plant manager and the production supervisor did not assume the responsibility by making serious efforts to develop the quality perspective and did not involve in the learning process, the probability of successful implementation would be close to zero. The paper discusses how system dynamics symbols were used to map the mental models and to provide focus for generating dialogue. There was never any need to build a full scale model.
This paper describes the development of a System Dynamics model of cocaine use in the United States of America. The model’s evolution is presented chronologically as a story in which theory and data have interacted and changed over time. This story may be particularly instructive for those System Dynamics modelers working, under conditions of some change and uncertainty, on extended studies of social behavior. An approach which combines skepticism, flexibility and attention to detail throughout such studies is advocated. When a variety of alternative theories and hypotheses is available, as in many social science applications, it is important to gather a wide spectrum of relevant evidence in order to reduce the risk of model misspecification and improve the study’s effectiveness.
This paper describes the application of the system dynamics method to the study of a conceptual military Command, Control, Communications and Information System (CIS) in the early phases of procurement. The work from which this paper was drawn constitutes one half of two parallel study streams to investigate the usefulness of the system dynamics technique in this area (the work did not attempt to assess the CIS itself). The conclusions from both streams are discussed in a separate paper (Gavine, 1990).
The author suggests that a combination of System Dynamics (SD) thinking combined with Monte Carlo simulation models can yield new insight and be a useful tool. Systems with feedback loops often contain elements of uncertainty or randomness which can be modeled by Monte Carlo methods. On the other hand, feedback loop analysis could certainly benefit Mont Carlo simulation models. Studying single runs of SD models may yield considerable insight. But when a parameter is set to a constant or average value, variance is lost. Variance plays an important role in portraying any risk involved in a system.These points will be illustrated by an example from an analysis performed at NDRE where SD thinking applied to a Monte Carlo model was the key to solving an important question. The example concerns dimensioning Airfield Damage Repair (ADR) capacity on Norwegian airbases subject to hostile attacks. One key question was: How long time must the runway be open per day in order to obtain acceptable operating conditions for air defense fighter aircraft? Does there exist some minimum threshold?The main feedback loops concern damage on the runway and attribution between attacking aircraft, ground based air defense and defending air defense aircraft (depending on open runways). The elements of randomness concern the damage inflicted on the runway, and the repair time.It is shown that under certain conditions (too low repair capacity) there is a risk of defending aircraft either being pinned in or wining the battle. The feedback loop between defending aircraft and the runway state plays a key role along with the randomness in the early damage. The statistical distribution of the fraction of day open may over time develop into having one peak close to 0 (closed), one peak close to 1 (open), and little in between. The average value is merely a weighted average between two extremes.On the other hand, with sufficient repair capacity, the risk of being pinned in was eliminated. The effects were easily understood when thinking in terms of feedback loops, but the element of randomness was essential in order to recognize the threshold when the risk of being pinned in occurred.The author believes that a similar combination of techniques could benefit traditional SD models, too.
The market place derives its dynamism from the inherent willingness of a consuming population to innovate. Many technological firms have been exploiting the consumer markets with their technology based discontinuous innovations. Several companies have been marketing small computers that, in pricing and programming structure, are amenable to adoption by individual consumers. This study is an attempt to study the diffusion/adoption process of personal computers in the Indian context from both a behavioral theory and marketing strategy perspective.
Freud’s theories are shown to rely on an equilibrium-seeking model derived from nineteenth century physics. This model is traced through Freud’s concepts of neuronal inertia; the pleasure principle; the primarily and secondary systems; instincts; the compulsion to repeat; the Nirvana Principle; the death instinct; and resistance. Quandaries concerning adaptation as well as the delay of discharge are attributed to the limitations of Freud’s equilibrium model. Next, the main features of far-from-equilibrium research are recounted, primarily from the work of Prigogine but properties of chaotic systems. The concepts of self-organization and dissipative structure, sensitivity to the environment, energy exchange, and nonlinearity help resolve the quandaries of adaptation in Freud’s theories.
Equilibrium models of organizational change are contrasted with a new model derived from nonequilibrium, nonlinear and dynamical system research. Kurt Lewin’s force-field theory is used as an example of the traditional equilibrium-seeking model. The characteristics of the new model are: nonlinearity; change in attractors; environmental gradience and nonequilibrium constraints; internal gradience; bifurcation; and self-organization. Advantages of the new model are described.